When I started District23 back in November 2013 I knew nothing about building a brand. Almost three years on and things have changed considerably. I’ve researched brand ethics, niche markets, made connections, and looked at the best ways for a brand to thrive in competitive market.
Many brands today exist purely online, therefore it’s important to make a good impression with customers early on as you don’t have the face-to-face hands-on experience with them that you would in an office or commercial environment.
So, how do you build a brand in this global pool of internet start-ups? How do you make yourself stand out rather than fit in? What makes your brand unique to you?
FIND YOUR VOICE
Having a message or something you stand for is incredibly important to a brand. When I began District23 all I wanted to do was create cool t-shirts in a certain style but there was no genuine meaning behind them. When I relaunched the company this August I had a message and something other than clothing to sell – District23 had a voice. Anyone can start a brand but if there isn’t some kind of meaning behind it then it’ll struggle to flourish into something real. Customers like a history, a story, something for them to support and get behind. By giving your brand a voice and a meaning, you build a relationship with your customers despite never having face-to-face interaction with them.
As social media seems to be taking over the world there are very few companies that don’t engage with Facebook and Twitter to put their message out there. For a brand it’s important to have consistency across all platforms. If you post something to Facebook, post it to Twitter too. But don’t stagger your posts. Part of being consistent is putting the same post online at the same time across all platforms. Invest in scheduled social media programmes such as Hootsuite or Sprinklr to assure all of your social media platforms are consistent.
Consistency all comes in the form of the look of your brand – use the same fonts, colours and types of imagery that evoke what your brand stand for. If you make changes too often your brand will be hard to recognise. If the products you’re selling don’t have the same feel in terms of design style and packaging, then your customers will be questioning whether your brand is legitimate. You need the consistency to help build the relationship with your audience and your audience really needs to trust you when you’re an online company. How are they going to trust you if you keep changing who you are and what you stand for if you aren’t reliable or consistent?
What makes your brand different? What I learnt with District23 very early on that it was easy to mimic other companies in terms of style and the type of t-shirts sold. When I scaled back and took some time to really develop the company I turned District23 into a company about positivity and changing the way people think and see things. That has since been the companies niche. When you combine your brands voice with it’s consistency it’ll be easier to decipher your niche which will in turn build your brand into something unique that customers will respond to.